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Comment Re:weird bedfellows (Score 1) 314

It is a bit weird, isn't it? It makes more sense when you think it through. Kind of a classic modern American capitalism story.

Vaping started out as kind of a hobbyist/DIY thing, long long before Big Tobacco came along. Ruyan--the original Chinese manufacturer of ecig hardware--started shipping internationally in 2005 or so. Gradually it developed into a cottage industry with mom&pop type operations mixing their own juices to sell and selling hardware on the side--ordering from china sucks for an individual order, and a lot of people were suspicious of the Chinese liquid and wanted American-made. So we got all kinds of small businesses like Mister-E-Liquid, MadVapes, Mountain Oak Vapor, etc growing and starting to cater to mail-order customers in the states, as well as making better and improved hardware. Eventually Big Tobacco noticed this growth sector. The super-big players--Lorrilard & Phillip Morris-wanting a larger slice of the nicotine marketshare now that their cigarette profits were declining, bought up some of the less reputable, heavily advertised, low quality, high-margin e-cigarette companies (Blu & Njoy -- you see these crappy proprietary 510-style units in gas stations). They haven't done too well despite advertising campaigns, since the hardware is terrible and the juice is often even worse.

Now we're in a position where no one wants to buy Big Tobbaco's hardware and juice. People want to be able to buy from reputable smaller suppliers and manufacturers that provide higher-quality hardware (variable voltage mods, high-capacity batteries, long-life manual switches, rebuildable atomizers and tanks) and good-tasting juice. Big Tobacco doesn't want to get involved in these things because they aren't Big Profit. So Big Tobacco did what Big Business does best -- lobby and use political connections and influence to edge out and eliminate their competition.

Comment Re:Better the devil you know ? (Score 1) 314

If you are concerned about the juice contents, you can make your own. It is quite simple, there aren't any reactions you have to control or anything -- you're just mixing propylene glycol, 36 mg/ml nicotine concentrate, and any flavorings you want. Conosseuirs may use vegetable glycerin in lieu of PG and play around with adding things like distilled water or capsacin to decrease/increase the vapor's "throat hit".

Propylene glycol is on the GRAS list, is safe for inhalation as a vapor and even has a slight antimicrobial effect. Hospitals, especially those institutions who specialize in treating immunocompromised individuals, sometimes mist it into the air to help reduce airborne pathogen levels (http://ebm.sagepub.com/content/48/2/544.full.pdf). And if you've ever seen a fog machine, the 'fog' they produce is propylene glycol mist (http://chemistry.about.com/od/howthingswork/a/smokemachines_3.htm).

Personally, I worry a lot more about what a big "regulated" corporate entity might put into juice, considering they gave us normal cigarettes with all their additives. I am far, far more comfortable with the small businesses that currently supply my ejuice than I ever would be with some big company.

Comment Re:Lucky bastards (Score 1) 296

Startup times are not irrelevant, they are very important to many users. Our biggest complaint from FF-using clients is "It takes too long to open a web link in Outlook". They don't leave the browser open because it isn't a critical or oft-used part of their workflow, and will seldom if ever have more than one tab open simultaneously,so performance after running a few hours or under extreme load doesn't have much bearing on our usage scenario.

Comment Re:Lucky bastards (Score 1) 296

Do you do anything special after the install to get it to get more speed out of it?

Because of the automated updating in Chrome, we'd rather not support it, but its getting to the point where we're having so many issues with FF that the tradeoff is acceptable.

I've got two D610s with fresh XP installs from work here for a side-by-side comparison, and in a vanilla FF vs vanilla Chrome test with both at their current versions (FF 15.0.1 and Chrome 21.0.1180.89), FF takes about 3-5 seconds to startup, spawn its first tab and finish loading the contents, while Chrome loads and spawns its default tab pretty much instantly in less than a second, with far less of the hard drive thrashing.

Additionally, Firefox vis a vis doesn't load its UI 'cleanly' (toolbar, tabs appear haphazardly at different times), and in some instances, actually gets classified as 'unresponsive' by windows for a bit before its done loading. These last two are especially problematic for our more naive users, as they perceive it as a problem in need of our attention rather than normal program behavior.

Comment Re:$300 is a lot of money. (Score 1) 241

$1300 is a shit ton of money. That'd get me 2 classes closer to my degree (I'm only 3 quarters away from finishing, but I hit the financial aid cap--no more loans or grants for me :() and into some real development work.

After living and work expenses, with the current availability of work orders at my job extended over twelve months, I can't even save that much in a YEAR if I spent absolutely nowhere except the gas station. It has nothing to do with being 'bad with money'. The money just doesn't exist for us the way it does for you in a torrential downpour. We don't have to worry about 'principles & interest' on anything, because we're too busy debating things like "Which is more important this month--electricity or car insurance?" and putting off paying the other utilities until the mileage reimbursement check comes from work, then the next month carrying a balance on a different utility to pay off the late fees on the first...

'Rich' is getting enough money injected into your account on a regular basis that you don't have to worry about this delicate financial dance and can afford to use your money to invest and/or add value to your existing assets. Anarchduke was right, you could use some perspective. Do you want to come live in the hood and clean malware off people's computers for nigh-minimum wage with me?

Comment Re:$300 is a lot of money. (Score 1) 241

Of course buying your own home is going to be cheaper than renting. That's one of the luxuries you get when your income and credit score gets high enough. (http://moneyland.time.com/2012/03/21/housing-math-buying-is-now-cheaper-than-renting-98-of-the-time/)

But its not that bad. Rather luxurious by my standards, actually. Before I got my current job and moved here, I was paying $325 a month for a room in a 4-roommate household with broken windows in all the common areas and barely functional heat, in a really bad part of Rochester. I don't mean bad as in 'there's unscrupulous-looking individuals walking about outside in the early morning hours', I mean gunfire and 'look outside and on a regular basis there'd be a small army of cops breaking down a door down the street' bad.

I live in the city close to work, too, which is pretty much mandatory because otherwise this $4/gallon gas crap would literally price me out of employment.

Artificial Jellyfish Built From Silicone and Rat Cells 61

ananyo writes "Bioengineers have made an artificial jellyfish using silicone and muscle cells from a rat's heart. The synthetic creature, dubbed a medusoid, looks like a flower with eight petals. When placed in an electric field, it pulses and swims exactly like its living counterpart. The team now plans to build a medusoid using human heart cells. The researchers have filed a patent to use their design, or something similar, as a platform for testing drugs (abstract). 'You've got a heart drug?' says Kit Parker, a biophysicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the work. 'You let me put it on my jellyfish, and I'll tell you if it can improve the pumping.'" The video that accompanies the text is at once beautiful and creepy.

Comment Re:well, duh (Score 1) 433

You are not intended to live on minimum wage. Anybody who shows up on time and sober will be making above minimum in three months.

Conversely anybody who can't produce at least minimum wage worth of value per hour will never ever be able to get (or keep) a job.

Care to email that to my boss? I haven't gotten a raise, *ever*. Granted I started at $9.00, $1.75 over the state minimum, but since I only get occasional work when someone needs me to muck around with the webserver, design a skin for a new site, or drive to a client to deploy equipment/troubleshoot something, I don't get the benefit of constant regular hours.

A raise would be killer. ;)

Comment Re:Schools Raise Tution Regardless (Score 1) 433

I'm in the exact same position as you--24 credit hours away from graduation, I hit the cap. The financial aid office said the only thing that could be done was to convince my parents to sign a PLUS loan--one isn't creditworthy, and the other hasn't been an active figure in my life since they divorced the other several years ago. So now, I'm stuck in an endless cycle of wage garnishments and the IRS keeping my tax return until someday, 35 years down the line or so, I can get out of default and go back to school to finish my degree. There's no way out, and it really, really sucks.

Comment Re:Scalability should never be a startup's problem (Score 1) 187

Somewhat offtopic, but I'm finding it kinda difficult to believe that in this job market in the US, there are people lucky enough to be employed as developers that don't understand basic RDBMS concepts like indexes or joins. I'm just an undergraduate, but even at this level competition for jobs is incredibly fierce--I can't imagine someone being considered for code-writing positions lacking knowledge of crossjoin, outer joins, indexes, B+ trees, kd trees, etc. That kind of stuff comes up in almost every interview I've had so far, and I've got nothing yet for a while. :(

Do you actually encounter on a regular basis this kind of clueless-ness? How do these people manage to get hired?

If you can't learn to do it well, learn to enjoy doing it badly.